Landmark n°13. Plaza de Armas (Arms Square)

Posted in Tour I. Historical/Old Santiago, and Hito 13. Plaza de Armas

Landmark n°13. Plaza de Armas (Arms Square)

Landmark n°13. Plaza de Armas (Arms Square)
Landmark n°13. Plaza de Armas (Arms Square)

During the colonial period and until mid-XIX century, “Plaza de Armas” was just a clearing that had a fountain that provided water to the city center. Originally it was called “Plaza Mayor”, but after the first Indian attacks, the place was renamed “Plaza de Armas” due to the military camp that occupied the city.

Around it, the “Cabildo” – which is now the Municipality of Santiago – was established. The other buildings were the house of the Governor – which also served as the Central Post Office – the Royal Court where today we find the National History Museum, and of course the main church, today called “Catedral Metropolitana” (Metropolitan Cathedral).

Eventually the square became the center of social, economic and political activities and it even housed the “Mercado de Abastos” (Supplies Market) from 1600 to 1817.

In the nineteenthXIX century, the bronze fountain was replaced by the statue “A la Libertad de América” (“To the freedom of the Americas”), a work of Italian artist Francisco Orsolino. It is also the home of the monument to Indigenous People, which commemorates the 500th anniversary of the discovery of America.

Later, landscaper Guillermo Renner drew a modern garden that remained until the remodeling of the square in 1999.

Currently, you can find 21 signs that indicate the type of vegetation and two poles with general information about the square. In these signs, you can obtain detailed information on your Smartphone by scanning the QR codes.


Santiago was founded on “Plaza de Armas”. It is known as “Kilómetro Cero” (Kilometer Zero). This point marks the beginning of the measuring of distances between different cities. 

Address: It is located between the streets: Merced, Ahumada, Monjitas y Estado.

Services:  Access for people with reduced mobility.

Free Wi-Fi.

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